Nucleolin mediates the binding of cancer cells to L-selectin under conditions of lymphodynamic shear stress

Tovë M. Goldson, Kevin L. Turner, Yinan Huang, Grady E. Carlson, Emily G. Caggiano, Andres F. Oberhauser, Susan M. Fennewald, Monica M. Burdick, Vicente A. Resto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells bind to lymphocytes via L-selectin in a shear-dependent manner. This interaction takes place exclusively under low-shear stress conditions, such as those found within the lymph node parenchyma. This represents a novel functional role for L-selectin-selectin ligand interactions. Our previous work has characterized as-of-yet unidentified Lselectin ligands expressed by HNSCC cells that are specifically active under conditions of low shear stress consistent with lymph flow. Using an affinity purification approach, we now show that nucleolin expressed on the surface of HNSCC cells is an active ligand for L-selectin. Parallel plate chamber flow-based experiments and atomic force microscopy (AFM) experiments show that nucleolin is the main functional ligand under these low-force conditions. Furthermore, AFM shows a clear relationship between work of deadhesion and physiological loading rates. Our results reveal nucleolin as the first major ligand reported for L-selectin that operates under low-shear stress conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C83-C93
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • L-selectin
  • Lymphatic metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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